Recipes on December 9, 2010 by

Gingerbread Ornaments

Making your own ornaments is fun and creates lasting memories.

One of my favorite Christmas memories as a kid was decorating the Christmas Tree—opening box after box of ornaments, delicately unwrapping each one and finding the perfect spot on the tree. To this day, it’s one of my favorite holiday traditions. I remember my mother had these wonderful gingerbread ornaments that smelled heavenly. I say “had” because they were lost to a four-legged furry friend a couple of years back, so I went on a hunt to find a great recipe for making my own.

There are a few different ways that people have approached these type of ornaments. Some recipes involve several days of drying and others involve using craft glue as an ingredient. It really depends on how much you want to put into these and how much you want to spend on the ingredients. I am opting for the slightly more complicated version without glue. This is a great activity to do with children, though be aware it takes several days to go from dough to ornament.

This is lightly adapted from, to see the original recipe, click here.

  • 6 tbsp. shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 7 cups flour (white, whole wheat, gluten free, doesn’t matter)
  • 1-1/2 cups water

You will also need:

  • Acrylic Paints in the colors of your choice
  • Clear Acrylic Paint or Varnish
  • Cookie Cutters (almost any shape will be fun)
  • Rolling Pin
  • Ribbon or Thread
  • Straw or Pencil (for making holes- after all, you’re not eating them)

In a large bowl, beat shortening and sugar; stir in molasses. Sift baking soda, ground cloves, ginger, cinnamon and flour together in a large bowl. Stir this mixture plus water into the sugar and shortening mixture, alternately adding the water and baking soda mixture to the shortening mixture. Stir until mixed thoroughly and refrigerate 6-8 hours.

Preheat oven to 350° degrees.

Cut dough into three equal pieces, knead each piece lightly and then use a rolling pin to roll out each piece to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to shape cookie, then place on cookie sheet. Use a medium-sized drinking straw or pencil to make a hole at the top of each shape. Bake for about 20 minutes. Turn oven off and allow cookies to cool in the oven. This will help harden the cookies.

Place cookies on racks to completely harden. Place racks in a cool, dry place and let sit for two to three days. Coat cookies with clear acrylic paint or varnish and allow cookies to dry thoroughly.

Paint cookies with acrylic paints as desired. Allow paint to dry thoroughly.

Thread a 5- to 6-inch length of narrow ribbon or cording through the hole at the top of each ornament. Knot ends and hang ornaments.

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